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New Book Reveals NZ's Hidden History Of Abortion

16 November 2010

Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand

New Book Reveals New Zealand’s Hidden History Of Abortion

A groundbreaking book detailing a hidden history of abortion in New Zealand, told primarily by those whose lives it affected, was launched in Wellington on Tuesday night by the Labour MP Steve Chadwick and the book’s author, ALRANZ president, Dame Margaret Sparrow.

“Abortion Then & Now: New Zealand Abortion Stories From 1940 to 1980” includes 70 first-person accounts gathered over five years as part of a history project by ALRANZ. It is being published by Victoria University Press.

ALRANZ General Secretary, Dr. Morgan Healey, said Dame Margaret’s book was important not just for the previously untold stories from New Zealand women who risked their health and lives seeking the abortions they needed, but also because of the stories from the many others involved: doctors, advocates, backstreet abortionists and even police officers.

“Because of this book, the women who went to illegal operators, or tried to self-abort, or had to travel to Australian clinics are no longer invisible. They emerge in these pages as real people making extremely difficult decisions, decisions that cost some of them their lives,” Dr. Healey said.

“Although there have been no publicised deaths at the hands of an illegal abortionist since the late 1960s, abortion is still a crime in New Zealand – and it is still stigmatised and kept hidden,” she said.

“In congratulating Dame Margaret on this essential work, ALRANZ and its supporters hope its chilling yet uplifting stories will go some way toward fulfilling her long-held hope of ending that stigma and secrecy. As Dame Margaret and this book make clear, abortion is a health issue, not a crime.”

For information about the book: ALRANZ: http://www.alranz.org/AbortionThenandNow.htm Victoria University Press: * http://www.victoria.ac.nz/vup/2010titleinformation/abortion.aspx*


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